DMK, Tamil parties caution Delhi over Rajapaksa’s appointment as Sri Lanka PM
DMK president MK Stalin on Saturday led a chorus of opposition political parties in Tamil Nadu voicing concern at the overnight ‘mysterious’ changes in Sri Lanka with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s swearing-in as the Prime Minister which they claimed poses a major threat to Tamils in the island who had been subjugated.
They also said that New Delhi should keep an eye on the developments in the southern neighbourhood in view of Rajapaksa’s proximity to the Chinese.
Stalin claimed that the unprecedented development in the neighbouring country has sent shockwaves through lakhs of minority ethnic Tamils still fighting for legitimate rights in Sri Lanka.
In 2009, Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan president had authorised a massive military operation that eliminated the Tamil rebel group LTTE but also raised serious questions about human rights abuse by Lankan soldiers against Tamil civilians in the country’s north and northeast.
Rajapaksa has denied rights abuse under his watch.
“At this juncture, Rajapaksa, facing international criticism for his handling of the civil war is back in the saddle as PM. The Indian Government should carefully watch these mysterious developments and ensure the security of lakhs of native Tamils in Sri Lanka as well as the Tamil Nadu fishermen who are often at the receiving end of the SL Navy,” Stalin said in a statement. He also suspected China’s hand in the Rajapaksa’s return from political oblivion.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko also said Rajapaksa’s return to power is a big threat to the Tamils in Sri Lanka. “During his tenure as president, lakhs of Tamils were massacred during the civil war. Sri Lankan President Sirisena who pretended to an associate of Tamils has showed his true colours,” he said in a statement.
Vaiko also said that China has been successful in ‘resurrecting’ Rajapaksa.
For Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S Ramadoss, the elevation of Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan PM is a dangerous development for India. “Rajapaksa’s entry into the government is a big threat for India. For this, we have to blame only our vulnerable external affairs strategies,” he said in a statement to the media.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan also faulted the Centre’s Sri Lankan policy and said this is a wakeup call for New Delhi as Rajapaksa has been very close to China in the past, disregarding Indian interests in the region.